We are on PART EIGHT of the series, “Love as a Way of Life” from the book by Gary Chapman. So far we have covered: Love as a way of life, Kindness, Patience, Forgiveness, Courtesy, Humility, Generosity, and now HONESTY.
I have found that more and more relationships fall apart because a lack of honesty and its cohort vulnerability. (I get this from the marriage and relationships forums, in addition to just listening to the environment around me.) Honesty serves the purpose of correctly guiding and giving a proper perspective. Somewhere along the way we have the idea that being honest with someone or “being real” is synonymous with harsh words with no respect to the value of the person. Instead of saying, “I don’t think that’s the look you are going for,” we more pointedly and hurtfully say, “you look like you stepped out of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory on Acid.” I know, I know every relationship is different so take it with a grain of salt with that I wrote and remember the principle.
Honesty is about attitude supported and guided by the principles of love. Love, remember, is a (sacrificial) gift that is given within the best interest of another. For example, what would you say to the man who is going to ask his girlfriend’s hand in marriage while sitting in a booth over a steamy golden waffle in the Waffle House at 3 in the morning? Your response most likely would be, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!!!” Why, because most women would not feel special, treasured, cherished, or even cared for under such circumstances.
Although he is doing everything that he is “suppose” to do he is missing the main point of the question. The questions is about her because he is asking her to come along with him.! Any meaningful relationship focuses on the other persons needs. Let me clarify that I don’t mean that it is always about what the person wants but what they need at the time. If he is going to present to her a ring and wants a positive outcome to the question then he is going to ask her in away she wants to say yes. She needs to feel she is valued and know she is valued by the fact that he considered her needs and presented the question in a way that she understood it to be commitment to her and the relationship.
How does this apply to honesty? Honesty is about communicating in a way that the other person can understand, see, and hear that you care for them. Why would a man who truly cares for a woman ask her to marry him in a place that she may find unromantic? And why would you cut someone down with your words about how they look when they trusted you with their question, “how does this make me look?” Honesty is also about protecting venerability. When someone asks you a question about something personal they have chosen to be vulnerable. When we are vulnerable we are at our weakest point. It is then that we can build the strongest bonds in the relationship. They have respected and chosen you to build that stronger relationship. Why disrespect them with an ill word?
Since this is the last part in the series let me go over how honesty applies to each of the parts according to Gary.
Honesty in Kindness:
It is always a kind act to tell someone how to better themselves in a way that they know they are valued or to encourage them when no one else does. Question: If you saw someone with a “Kick Me” sign on their back, would you make fun or question their value with your words and belittle them prior to telling them about the sign? Probably not. There have been times that I have had to choreograph my words in such a way that the recipient would hear, listen, and accept what I had to say. Be honest, open, vulnerable, yet always preserve the relationship with kindness.
Honesty in Patience:
Gary writes, “Use truth as a bullet, and you will kill relationships. Plant the truths as a seed, and it will take root and grow, influencing the person in whose heart it was planted.” We cannot expect others to change over night when we don’t expect that of ourselves. Take your time with people. It took them a long time to get where they are so expect an even harder process to get them back.
Honesty in Forgiveness:
Forgiveness is focused and working towards the goal of reconciliation. The relationship has been wronged and now the two are attempting to make it whole. Honesty is the attitude of not having an underling motive other than to bring resolution. Be honest with your feelings but do not use your words to punish. Who do you need to reconcile with today. Do not wait.
Honesty in Courtesy:
Courtesy is regarding someone else with value and consideration even if they do not see it within themselves. If you see someone unknowingly drop money then we are to attempt to restore that money to them. The reason I use the world “restore” is because there is time and their self related to that money. It represents the clothes that they had to buy for work, the service they provided to the company, and the time away from family and loved ones. When we provide assistance (courtesy) to someone in need we recognize the frailty in our own lives.
How would you feel if you accidentally dropped money in the store but the person who would have notified you is the one who took it? Just like me, you would feel betrayed and not respected. Be observant today and find those you can assist.
Honesty in Humility:
Humility is about having the proper assessment of who we are. I have written on this subject before concerning thankfulness for things we have no control over in IOU a Thankyou and A Big Birthday Thankyou. Never over estimate your value and when you confront someone because of a wrong they have done remember that it could have been you. Do not be like King David where after committing adultery and killing her husband attempt to kill a man for stealing a sheep. Humility will ensure that we approach those we love with Kindness, patience, forgiveness, and courtesy.
Honesty in Generosity:
Do not hold so tightly to what has been given to you or you just might suffocate yourself. Money was given to you because someone employed you. Patience was given to you when you couldn’t quite understand something. Honesty was given to you because they trusted you and valued you. Kindness and courtesy were given to you when you forgot or misplaced something. Be generous with what you have.
Honesty is the best policy to ensure meaningful relationships. I don’t expect to many comments here but what do you need to be honest about?